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Trastuzumab deruxtecan slashes disease progression, death by 72% in HER-2+ breast cancer

The New England Journal of Medicine
Reuters Health - 23/03/2022 - Treatment with trastuzumab deruxtecan reduces the risk of disease progression and death by 72% over 12 months compared with trastuzumab emtansine therapy among women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, according to interim phase 3 results from the DESTINY-Breast03 trial.

About two million people are diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide each year and roughly one in five tumors is HER2 positive.

The new test involved 524 volunteers with unresectable or metastatic breast cancer who had previously been treated with trastuzumab and a taxane. Patients with brain metastases that were symptomatic or required treatment were excluded. The drugs were given intravenously every three weeks.

The rate of survival without disease progression after one year was 75.8% with trastuzumab deruxtecan and 34.1% with trastuzumab emtansine, Dr. Javier Cortes of the International Breast Cancer Center in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The hazard ratio for progression or death from any cause was 0.28 (95% CI, 0.22 to 0.37).

Survival rates were 94.1% and 85.9%, respectively. Respective overall response rates were 79.7% versus 34.2%.

However, trastuzumab deruxtecan, sold under the brand name Enhertu by Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca, produced more interstitial lung disease and pneumonitis. The combined incidence of the two side effects was 10.5% with trastuzumab deruxtecan compared with 1.9% in the control group.

The interim findings were originally released in September. The two companies paid for the study, which is ongoing.

"Trastuzumab deruxtecan is an effective new treatment for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer who have been previously treated with trastuzumab and a taxane, as well as with pertuzumab when available," the researchers conclude.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/37BGer3 The New England Journal of Medicine, online March 23, 2022.

By Reuters Staff

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